As we go home and immediately find the need to hide from our families, here’s a way to wile away those hours in 90-minute increments: Let ABC Fam transport you to a winter land where Andy Dick plays a sandwich delivery man who has someone else’s child in his care…where Olivia Newton John stars as a small-town American woman…where Shannen Doherty is a thief. Where love and Christmas are synonymous. Obvs.
I give you my guide of the current internet options (minus the kids’ movies) ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas makes available to us. Note: as Kate, Jessie, KB and I well know, any TV movie is best watched as a drinking game. I just doubled your potential enjoyment of these movies; you’re welcome.
Because I’m filled with the Christmas spirit, I want to give you this gift: Do not watch this movie. Santa is “tired of caring when everyone else doesn’t.” Luckily a small child with rockin’ bangs shows him that people are still caring, and ensures that Santa delivers all the presents in time! With help from a plump and aproned Mrs. Claus, and rhyming elves.
Check out those bangs.
Three words: OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN. She stars as poor single mom Julia Stonecypher (I couldn’t even make that up), living in a small American town…about to have her house repossessed by a man from the big city. Olivia’s real daughter plays her daughter in the movie. Tagline: “Two people are about to discover that what they need most is each other.” That’s all I’m sayin’.
The taller daughter is Olivia’s.
Jake Peterson (played by Tim Matheson, VP John Hoynes from West Wing) returns to his small Nebraska hometown to shut down a major business there. Love happens. With Michelle Gilbert (HELEN KELLER/Laura Ingalls Wilder), whose daughter is played by Michelle Trachtenberg. These connections are making me breathless. So… city business man is wooed by small town down-to-earth woman. Do you have ONE writer, ABC Family? However, Tim Matheson and Michelle Gilbert are pretty cute together, and seeing young Michelle Trachtenberg constantly reminds me of Harriet the Spy.
This makes me want to watch West Wing, and then Little House on the Prairie.
It opens with the eponymous song and is set in St. Nicholas, Iowa. And depressingly, it’s not the I’ll Be Home For Christmas that starred Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Instead it involves a town of 1500 that needs a doctor, and a widowed surgeon from the BIG CITY who returns home (with his terribly annoying daughter) to St. Nicholas for the holidays. Who was high school sweethearts with the part-time mayor/town veterinarian, Sarah. Paula Deen couldn’t come up with a better recipe for love. Although she could definitely come up with a better figure of speech than what I just wrote.
The celebs of St. Nicholas, population: 1500.
Gah, Andy Dick in a family movie? Let me share with you the most preposterous plot ever, ever written. Andy Dick is a sandwich delivery man who delivers sandwiches to an adoption agency, which has a lot of babies in a room waiting to be delivered to their homes. WHAT? The adoption agency lets him hang around and touch the babies and since there is a holiday rush for babies, they end up needing him to “deliver” one. Across the country. Featuring this gem: “Adoption is where the baby grows in your mommy’s heart, instead of your mommy’s tummy.”
Would YOU trust this man?
This movie is everything I love about ABC Family original movies. It stars Tom Cavanagh and Ashley Williams. Ashley Williams played Victoria (ugh) on HIMYM, and she’s the younger sister of Kimberly Williams-Paisley, of Father of the Bride and…Lucky Seven. Tom Cavanagh (of Ed, which coincidentally features Gregory Harrison of A Christmas Romance) plays Nick Snowden, a young and single Santa. He must rescue a reindeer from a zoo in CA before Christmas in 3 days, and meets Sandy (Ashley Williams) along the way. Little does Sandy know she’s about to fall in the trap of a lifetime: becoming Mrs. Claus. You think Santa does all that work by himself?
Oh good, another movie based on A Christmas Carol. I’m sure that when Dickens wrote his novella he wished for it to come to this, someday. He dreamed big.
I don’t know who any of these people are. Disinterested.
A self-centered man (Jay Mohr) has to relive Christmas Day over and over again. Much like we have to relive this plot idea over and over again. Featuring Daphne Zuniga, from the original Melrose Place.
Ever wish Christmas were every day? Thanks, subjunctive mood!
Another Christina Milian treasure. Christian Milian plays Angela Moreno, whose fam doesn’t like to make a big to-do about Christmas, but it’s her favorite holiday. So she is sad. Luckily, a Snowglobe sent through the mail allows her to be transported into a world where everyone loves Christmas more than anything. And she can go back and forth whenever she wants to. Until she can’t. And! there’s a man for her in each world. She must make so many tough choices. Luckily, and despite so many inconsistencies (she’s a butcher, yet lives alone in a swank apartment, she’s supposed to be Italian, etc.), entertainment value exists especially in the form of Josh Cooke, the love interest in the real world (who plays the long-term boyfriend Ben in Better With You).
She looks like she’s 15.
Shannen Doherty! Thievery! Children! Shannen plays Cate Dove, a thief whose latest heist went bad so she returns to her hometown and ends up babysitting her niece and nephew (it was first titled Auntie Claus). She refriends everyone from childhood but is simultaneously planning to steal from them. Fittingly, her love interest is a cop.
Oh, is that black outfit supposed to denote criminality?
If you enjoy seeing Melissa Joan Hart back on TV in Melissa & Joey as much as I do, you will like this movie for the same reason. Except know that her romantic opposite is Mario Lopez, and it is 100% impossible to suspend disbelief and accept the likelihood of that. ABC Family seems to have an obsession with crime and Christmas, because this time Melissa Joan Hart (Trudie) kidnaps Mario Lopez (David) so that she can pretend to have a boyfriend at home for the holidays. And somehow, despite his muscles, he cannot escape. Luckily they fall in love and both do escape the huge awkwardness, both personally and legally, that would have ensued had they not.
I don’t think he’d crown her Miss America.
If popular physiological phenomena are to be used as movie titles, what will be next, Hiccups? Ear Ringing? Eye Twitching? What confuses me most about this movie is that both Tom Cavanagh and Ashley Williams reprised their roles from the original movie Snow. How much is ABC Family paying? Or do they both just really love spending time in Canada? Further, they reprised their roles in THIS plot: Nick Snowden loses his memory by walking through a magic mirror, and Sandy (now his wife) has to help him regain it in time for Christmas. Yes. Santa loses his memory. That would be the brain freeze.
Ugh, she looks more like Victoria in this pic.
A Holiday for Love, Snow, Snowglobe, and Holiday in Handcuffs seem to be the best bets here, but no one will stop you if you want to watch Andy Dick deliver an Indonesian baby across the country to his adoptive parents, waiting eagerly for the baby that has grown in their hearts and not their tummies.
And if you want to watch the real television, here’s what the 2010 ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas has planned:
Dec 24th: Jack Frost, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town, The Year Without A Santa Claus
Dec 25th: Miracle on 34th St (1994), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version)
Also: 12 Men of Christmas (of Lifetime, not ABC Family) is playing at 8 pm 12/24 on LMN and 11 am 12/25 on Lifetime. Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Hopkins (beady-eyed Grayson from Cougar Town) in the ultimate holiday made-for-tv-movie.